Monthly Archives: November 2013

KayKay #CRB5 Review #53 Into the Fire by Jodi McIsaac

intothefire

**SPOILER ALERT- some plot points may be insinuated**

This is not going to be my typical review.  This book was a complete disappointment.  The plot was forced, the characters were not authentic, and quite frankly- they were stupid.  I’m not sure how you trust a druid who just turns up, especially since you know druids are trying to kill you.  I’m not sure how you keep dragging your young daughter into dangerous situations.  What makes you decide to dig up a person to powerful to kill, and had to be trapped, just so he can tell you where a magical object is?  They even go to a tourist attraction, see that it is empty (which they all agree is highly unlikely) when they spot a person over by some trees that seemed to be calling Finn, they assume that person is a tourist- FOR REALS???

Sometimes so much love and effort is put into the first release (and this seems to be true for both books and albums) the second release pales in comparison.  In this case, I can barely believe the same author wrote these books.  To me, this is the worst book I’ve read all year (and I’ve completed my cannonball).

KayKay #CRB5 Review #52 Fortune’s Pawn by Rachel Bach

Fortunes Pawn

**SPOILER ALERT**

My book reviews are written as a discussion of a book, and not as an advertisement.  Please be aware that there may be information that some would consider spoilers.  Continue on at your own risk!

I tend read a lot, and it’s not unlike me to forget key plot points, characters, and entire books.  After reading The Spirit Thief by Rachel Aaron, I was totally surprised to find that her characters stuck with me long after I had finished the book. Needless to say, I had high expectations for the characters of this book.  Did it live up to the Legend of Eli Monpress?  Here is what I thought….

Plot

Devi is a mercenary looking to become a ‘Devastator’ (a group that services the Sacred King directly.  They get the best armor, the best guns, they go on the most dangerous and important missions…”), by taking on the most challenging jobs she can find.  Queue a year long security position on the Glorious Fool- a notoriously dangerous ship.  Getting the job on the Fool, Devi falls in love and encounters several life threatening situations.

On one mission, Devi and Cotter explore a seemingly empty xith’cal ship and she is bitten during the attack.  After this bite she starts seeing little glowing bugs and she has strange new abilities (her fingers turned black and she killed someone by touch).  She doesn’t get to explore this too much, because she finds out too much about what the ships captain and Rupert really are, and they wipe her memory.

Plot Score: 3/5 

Characters

Devi incl. The Lady Gray (her armor) , Sasha and Mia (her weapons)- a headstrong female lead, she kicks butt, in and out of her suit, she’s head strong (“I was born a bossy bitch, so you can either roll with it or get rolled over.”)

Rupert- Devi’s love interest is also a Symbiont- an alien parasite, created in a lab and put into a human host.  They are is incredibly strong, fast and hard to kill.  They were also supposedly destroyed by the Terrans.  However, Captain Caldswell’s arch enemy Seni Major, is also a symbiont, and he had at least two others with him when they attacked The Fool.

Captain of the Glorious Fool,  Brian Caldswell- so far he is a mystery.  He seems like a fair captain, but it seems he kills any of his security that finds out too much about what he is doing.  He has a royal warrant, which indicates he is ‘in’ with the king, but none of that back story is known.

Basil- the pilot of the Glorious Fool, is an Aeon, which is the most populous race in the galaxy, and are large birds.

Hyrek-a xith’cal, a race that eats humans and does scientific experimentation.  Hyrek is the ships doctor who has to patch up Devi several times.  Devi immediately wants to kill Hyrek (she has never met a ‘good’ xith’cal), but I look forward to seeing this relationship develop.

Mabel- the ships engineer.

Nova- systems analyst- She is from The Unity of the Cosmos station, a group that has “abandoned the terrestrial to live in harmony with the stars and search for the larger oneness that connects all things.”

Characters Score: 5/5

World Building

“There are four space-facing races in the known galaxy: humans, aeons, lelgis, and xith’cal”

The humans are in two groups, Paradoxians, and Terrans.

The technology was a great compliment- it enhanced skills, but did not solve every problem.  Devi’s high quality armor, gave her a definite advantage, but did not save her in every situation.

World Building Score: 4/5

Style

I love the character building, so many gray lines, but each person has a fully formed- memorable character.  The authors afterward talked about the initial writing the story was in third person, but Devi’s character demanded it be in first person- and I can’t imagine it any other way.

Style Score : 4/5

Life Lessons (fka Bigger Meaning)

None

Life Lessons Score:  0/5 

Final Thoughts?

– Will Devi remember that she loves Rupert?

-What cool new powers does she have?

-Will there be a love triangle in the next book between Devi and Cotters replacement?  How will Rupert handle the jealousy?

-What is the captain hiding?  Why does he have a Royal Warrant?

-There are so many places this story could go…

Total Score and Recommendation

16/25- This is a promising start to a new series.

KayKay #CRB5 Review #51 Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood

Orxy and Crake

**SPOILER ALERT**

My book reviews are written as a discussion of a book, and not as an advertisement.  Please be aware that there may be information that some would consider spoilers.  Continue on at your own risk!

I had previously read The Handmaid’s Tale, which I felt was OK, but not the gem that everyone else seems to think it is.  Oryx and Crake sounded like a good apocalypse story, and I was hoping for something like The Road by Cormac McCarthy. Here is what I thought….

Plot

This is the story of Snowman (f.k.a. Jimmy), whose father works as a genographer (engineering modifications to existing species).  He grows up on compound where his father works, separate from the ‘pleeblands’.  He befriends Crake, who is top of his class, while Jimmy struggles at the bottom (although he has a mastery of words).  The story flashes back to Jimmy’s childhood, to the shell of a world that Snowman lives in.  Eventually Crake decides to engineer his own people and gives the rest of the world a virus, so his people will live while everyone else dies.  Crake gives the antidote to Jimmy, who is (assumingly) the last human alive, to help the “Crakers” assimilate to the earth (they had been living in an isolated dome on a compound).

Plot Score: 2/5 

Style

The main character had a love for obsolete words, and it seems the author shares this fascination.  Half way through I started to make a list of all the words I had to look up: pedagogical, ersatz, helot, troglodyte, locutions, hoary, aureole, crepuscular, chiaroscuro…

This did reduce my enjoyment of the book.

I also felt the book was slowly paced through out (feels like I’m wading through mud).  I could have just skipped on to the end to find out the most interesting part- which is how Snowman came to be…

Style Score : 2/5

Characters

Jimmy- He is always uncomfortable with himself, and always jealous of Crake.  He’s awkward and weak, and probably the main reason I struggled with this book.  Perhaps I would have preferred Crakes perspective.

Crake- Much more confident, but surprisingly attached to Jimmy

Oryx- She comes in later in the book (unless you count the boys seeing her child pornography video), but since she is only seen through Jimmy’s perspective, it’s hard to get a ‘real’ feel for her.

Crakers-the people created by Crake, who are vegetarian, and have traits from the animal world that are supposed to make them an intelligent design (i.e. purring for healing, like cats, chemicals in urine to keep animals away, mating habits, etc.)

Characters Score: 2/5

World Building

In this world there are people working for major corporations, and living on those corporations compounds.  Jimmy’s dad initially works for OrganInc Farms, which works on growing human organ from pigs (pigoon). The rest of the world is presented as a place of wild chaos (although we are only getting the perspective of the people in the compounds).  “Castles were for keeping you and your buddies nice and safe inside, and for keeping everybody else outside.”

After the world wide virus everything was falling apart like “Sandcastles in the wind.”   Jimmy is soley responsible for integrating the Crakers with the ‘real’ world.

World Building Score: 2/5

Life Lessons (fka Bigger Meaning)

I *thought* this was going to be a book about the apocalypse, but there was a lot more going on.  There is a large part of the story around child pornography and directed evolution.  It speaks of the dangers of allowing profits to drive science.  It talks about the inability to extinguish religion.

I like the messages, but I didn’t care as much for their delivery.

Life Lessons Score:  3/5 

Final Thoughts?

-Overrated

-I just want this experience to be over, I am not even going to process all my notes…

Total Score and Recommendation

11/25- I can’t recommend it, I won’t be reading the next one.